This page is a part of the Tompkins Co., NYGenWeb Site. Not for commercial use. All Rights Reserved.
Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York
by John H. Selkreg, 1894; D. Mason & Co., Publisher
History of Cornell
THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
The demand for scientific education in agriculture was the occasion of the establishment of these national schools of science. The vast wealth of this country is founded upon agriculture and the products of the soil. With the rise of great cities, the need of the more skillful culture of the land in their vicinity was felt. The development of horticulture, and scientific market gardening became essential for the supply of the needs of the great centers of manufacturing and commercial life. A second need, which was more widely felt throughout the Eastern and Central Middle States, was the decline in the value of farm lands and products, caused by the gradual removal of large numbers of the farming population to the broad and fertile prairies of the West, where land was cheap and abundant harvests were obtained with less labor. Unscientific farming had been the rule throughout the early history of the country. Thrift, energy and industry always existed, but as there was no science of chemistry, and botany was but an empirical recreation, the scientific cultivation, of the soil was impossible. To restore prosperity to the great agricultural domains of the East, which had supported for two hundred years the population of the State, and to repair the need which the soil, once fertile, could no longer supply, to attract and retain the citizens of the East in their old homes and thus prevent the transfer of agricultural prosperity from its center to the West, was the subject of earnest thought of many of the wisest men of the time.
Such considerations as these had profoundly impressed the author of the National Land Grant Act. Prosperity was dependent not merely upon industry but upon intelligent industry, and for thirty years the demand for agricultural education found expression in the discussions in village lyceums, in conferences of farmers, in resolutions and memorials of agricultural societies, and in reports of legislative committees. The Legislature of Illinois as early as 1854 passed resolutions calling upon Congress to establish an Industrial University. One of the earliest duties of the governing board of this university was to make provision to fulfill the obligations of the National Land Grant. Conferences were held with the leading educators of the State and with the officers of the State Agricultural Society. One of the two professors first chosen was a professor of agricultural chemistry, but no professor of scientific and practical agriculture was appointed. There was a farm consisting of the land presented by Mr. CORNELL, not reserved for a campus, upon which stood a small farm house, situated neat the eastern extension of Sibley College, and several blackened barns. At the meeting of the trustees of February 13, 1868, Joseph HARRIS, a gentleman widely known as the editor of a popular agricultural paper, who had some personal acquaintance with foreign agriculture, was appointed to the professorship of agriculture. He never entered, however, upon the duties of his position. Soon after the opening of the second term on February 18, 1869, Lewis SPAULDING was appointed assistant-professor of agriculture and, farm director. It was evident, that the entire organization of this department was inchoate, and the first specific instruction was elementary in character, and confined to the observation of farm work. Two prominent agriculturists were early appointed as lecturers in the university, Mr. John Stanton GOULD, on June 30, 1869, who had been president of the State Agricultural Society and was actively interested in promoting the agricultural welfare of the State. This noble Friend was a man of great practical wisdom, and of large influence in the denomination with which he was connected, whose life had been devoted to the amelioration of the condition of the suffering and criminal classes in the community. He delivered for several years two courses of lectures, one upon general agriculture and another upon mechanics as applied to agriculture. All who knew this man, so grand in every quality of his being, will rejoice in the memory of his association in those early years. Governor Frederick HOLBROOK, of Vermont, had been appointed a lecturer on one portion of the field covered by Mr. GOULD, that of mechanics as applied to agriculture, but had never performed any duties. The trustees at this time interpreted the law of Congress as requiring all students in the university to receive certain instruction in agriculture. It was even provided that no students should receive a diploma, who had not attended lectures upon general agriculture. This compulsory baptism of unwilling literary recipients with agricultural knowledge, afforded a subject of humorous and earnest protest during those early years. The law imposed no obligation that agriculture should be a part of the course of instruction of all students in these national schools, but only that provision should be made for instruction in agriculture and the mechanic arts. Both Mr. CORNELL and President WHITE were disappointed at the failure of their efforts to secure an able scientist and teacher as professor of agriculture, during the first three years of the history of the university. The department had been equipped with professorships of agricultural chemistry, of veterinary medicine and surgery, of botany, horticulture and arboriculture. Three courses of study were, however, arranged, a thorough and systematic course of four years leading to the degree of bachelor of science, and two abridged courses, one of three and the other of two years comprising most of the instruction immediately relating to agriculture. These courses were designed to meet the need of students who were unable to complete a full course of study, and who desired to avail themselves of a certain amount of agricultural knowledge before returning to their profession as farmers. The requisites for admission to these courses were low, as they were to all courses in the university. For admission to the freshman class in the full course, a good sound English education, including algebra to quadratics was required; but for admission to the abridged, courses an examination in elementary English was alone demanded. Facility was offered to special students to follow certain lines of work in the laboratories and gardens under the direction of the respective professors. On February 10, 1870, the Honorable George GEDDES was elected professor of agriculture. He, too, had been prominent in the promotion of the agricultural interests in the State, but did not accept the position. There were, however, in various colleges scientific professors of agriculture, who had won distinction for their success in developing instruction in this field, but who were not available. Those who had been nominated here were men rather of general interest in agriculture, than of special scientific attainments.
Mr. Louis SPAULDING remained in connection with the agricultural department but one year. At the end of that time a practical farmer was made director of the university farm, and the professorship of agriculture remained vacant for a year, when, on June 28, 1871, Henry H. McCANDLESS was appointed professor of agriculture. Mr. McCANDLESS had been connected with an agricultural school at Glasnevin in Ireland. Mr. McCANDLESS had directed the farm, or been foreman or superintendent of some portion of the agricultural interests of that institution, but was unfamiliar with the demands of American agriculture. During his period of service the south barn was erected, whose architecture has been the subject of amusing comment ever since. In 1873, Professor Isaac P. ROBERTS of the Iowa Agricultural College was appointed assistant-professor of agriculture. From this time, the proper development of the department and the scientific direction of the farm date. The farm was no longer cultivated simply for the production of crops, but to test certain important principles. Soon after his appointment an appropriation of one thousand dollars was made to fit up the agricultural museum. Certain illustrative material had previously been ordered by President WHITE, among them the Rau models, a series of one hundred and eighty-seven models of plows illustrating the history, development and varied use of the plow in different ages, also a collection of cereal grains, a duplicate of the royal collection in Edinburgh which had been presented by the British government.
The subjects for which provision was made in the early history of the department were, first, the chemistry of agriculture, including the constituents and chemical agencies of the atmosphere and water, and the composition of manures.
The lectures and exercises now embraced in this course comprise the following subjects: 1. The chemistry of agriculture, including the constituents and chemical agencies of the atmosphere and of water, and the composition of manures. 2. The geology of agriculture, including the formation of soils, their chemical, physical, and economic character; their suitability to different kinds of crops, and the principal geological features of the various portions of the United States as affecting the soils and productions. 3. The physics of agriculture, including meteorology, or the laws of climate, and of light and heat, as influencing plant life .4. The mechanics of agriculture, and their application to the various descriptions of implements and labor required on the farm. 5. The botany of agriculture, including structural botany, vegetable physiology, vegetable pathology, and a knowledge of crops cultivated for food and for technical purposes. 6. The zoology of agriculture, including the habits, diseases and treatment of live stock; the anatomy of the horse, the cow, the sheep, and other farm animals, and all branches of veterinary surgery and medicine, as well as a special consideration of insects injurious to vegetation. 7. The economics of agriculture, including the sequence of agricultural operations, the economical division of labor, rearing, feeding and handling of domestic animals, the rotation of crops, the improvement of the soil by manuring, draining and liming, farm engineering and construction, general agricultural policy, and the management of landed property.
The graduates from the department of agriculture have taken a prominent part in like work in other institutions, notably the following:
Wm. Arnon HENRY, professor of agriculture in the University of Wisconsin, and director of the agricultural, experiment station.
Wm. R. LAZENBY, professor of horticulture in the Ohio State University. Joseph A. HOLMES, State Geologist of North Carolina.
Fred. L. KILBORNE, director of the experiment stations for animal diseases in the United States department of agriculture.
Clinton De Witt SMITH, professor of agriculture in the Michigan Agricultural College.
Geo.C. WATSON, assistant agriculturist in the Cornell University agricultural experiment station.
Thos. L. BRUNK, late professor of horticulture in the Maryland Agricultural College. Loren P. SMITH, late professor of agriculture in the Iowa Agricultural College.
Henry H. WING, professor of animal industry and dairy husbandry in Cornell University.
Joseph R. CHAMBERLAIN, late professor of agriculture in the Agricultural College of North Carolina.
In February, 1879, the Cornell University Experiment Station was organized for the purpose of promoting agriculture by scientific experimentation and investigation. A board of control was appointed, consisting of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University, with one representative each from the State Agricultural Society, the State Grange, the State Dairymen's Association, the Western New York Farmer's Club, the Central New York Farmer's Club, the American Institute Farmer's Club, and the Ithaca Farmer's Club. Professor I. P. ROBERTS was elected president, and Professor C. C. CALDWELL director. This experiment station seems to have been a voluntary association of the professors, who invited the co-operation of the representatives of various agricultural societies. It marks the beginning of a series of investigations whose value to the economic and scientific side of agriculture can scarcely be overestimated. It would be difficult to summarize the numerous publications of this organization. There have been investigations in the chemistry of milk, in the manufacture of dairy products, in the value of fertilizers with various crops, in the diseases of cattle, in the results of feeding, in experiments with self-sown seeds, field experiments with various crops and the various varieties of grains and grasses; experiments in the feeding of cattle, with reference to the production of milk, and also of flesh; valuable experiments in entomology, in insects injurious to vegetation; in the analysis of commercial foods and fertilizers, etc., etc. A special appropriation was made by the trustees for the use of the station for the year 1881-2, and Dr. S. B. NEWBURY was appointed chemist, and a second appropriation, somewhat larger, made for the following year. Upon the resignation of Dr. NEWBURY, Mr. F. E. FURRY was appointed in his place. About this time Congress took action, which added, indirectly, to the original endowment for the support of these national schools. To meet the cost of investigation, in addition to instruction, a special appropriation was made "In order to aid in acquiring and diffusing among the people of the United States useful and practical information on subjects connected with agriculture, and to promote scientific investigation and experiment respecting the principles and applications of agricultural science, there shall be established under direction of the college or colleges, or agricultural departments of colleges in each State or Territory, in accordance with the 'Congressional Land Grant', a department to be known and designated as an Agricultural Experiment Station." The act of Congress provided, "That it shall be the object and duty of said experiment stations to conduct original researches, or verify experiments on the physiology of plants and animals; the diseases to which they are severally subject, with the remedies for the same; the chemical composition of useful plants at their different stages of growth; the comparative advantages of rotative cropping, as pursued under a varying series of crops; the capacity of new plants or trees for acclimation; the analysis of soils and water; the chemical composition of manures, natural or artificial, with experiments designed to test their comparative effects on crops of different kinds; the adaptation and value of grasses and forage plants; the composition and digestibility of the different kinds of food for domestic animals; the scientific and economic questions involved in the production of butter and cheese; and such other researches or experiments bearing directly on the agricultural industry of the United States, as may in each case be deemed advisable, having due regard to the varying conditions and needs of the respective States or Territories."
To meet the necessary expenses of conducting investigations and experiments, and printing and distributing the results, the sum of $15,000 per annum was appropriated to each State to be paid out of any money in the treasury- proceeding from sales of public lands. It was provided that the results of investigations or experiments should be submitted annually to the governor of the State in which the college was situated, and the bulletins or reports of progress of these stations should be sent to every newspaper in the State in which the experiment station was located, and also to individuals actually engaged in farming who might request the same, so far as the means of the station permitted.
This is the important "Hatch law," under the action of which the work of the experiment station, previously established, has been continued with enlarged facilities. The department as organized did not consist simply of the special scientists who were attached to it, but all professors in the university, whose chairs were allied, have constituted the staff of investigation, and every year has seen special reports in chemistry, general botany, cryptogarnic botany, entomology, agriculture, horticulture and veterinary science. The splendid equipment of the university has been thus utilized to contribute to the efficiency of the experiment station. The mere utilitarian value of these investigations has been such as to contribute to national wealth and elevate the entire work of the farm. It has been found that by using scientifically the familiar material which has always been available, the annual value of the products of the farm may be increased, and the danger to growing fruits and grains from insects harmful to plant life, mitigated, if not overcome. The introduction of new varieties of fruits and grains and breeds of cattle and fowls has added enormously to the materials of wealth at the disposal of the farmer. Single investigations, patiently conducted in the laboratory, have resulted in discoveries, whose annual contribution to the national wealth reaches many millions. The diseases of cattle, which are more serious from the possibility of communication to human beings, have been investigated. The relation of climate, soil and locality to the profitable production of grain has received elucidation, and the use of proper plant foods has been determined by scientific analysis. Production has not been merely improved, but doubled. In the year 1892, Governor FLOWER called the attention of the Legislature to the advantages offered by Cornell University for conducting successfully the various State agencies for the promotion of agriculture, which had been heretofore divided and which, in his view, should be concentrated under the direction of one bureau. He said: "I think it will be conceded that more effective scientific work of this nature can be done in connection with a great educational institution, and the grouping of these now scattered departments of agriculture at one place and under one general supervision, will also be a considerable saving of expense and maintenance. Cornell University furnishes an excellent nucleus for carrying on this work, and its facilities and instructors might be utilized by the State to great advantage to agricultural interests. The State Meteorological Bureau is already located there .There is also an Agricultural Experiment Station already established and doing effective work. Moreover, the institution has established practical courses of instruction in agriculture, botany, horticulture, dairy husbandry, animal industry, poultry keeping and veterinary science. It offers free of charge and without examination to all persons who are sixteen years of age competent instruction in these subjects for one or more terms." The Governor proceeds: "All this is exactly in line with what the State is now trying to accomplish through miscellaneous agencies for the encouragement of modern methods of agriculture. The question presented is whether official efforts can be combined with these private efforts in the interests of both economy and efficiency. . . . It is entirely, however, with a view to such advantage that I would urge the concentration at Cornell University of the various agencies for promoting scientific agriculture. To carry out this suggestion would not only enable the State to do more effective work immediately and at less expense, but would permit the State from time to time to extend its field of usefulness in this direction without the creation of new boards and new officers. The proper diffusion of knowledge with reference to the preservation law of our forests is of vital interest to the future welfare of the State and could be obtained through such an agency. The same is true of the spread of veterinary science. Public attention has only lately been called to the vast importance of this subject, not merely as it affects the value of our live stock, but because of its intimate relation to the question of public health. Modern science has demonstrated that a large proportion of human diseases is directly traceable to diseases of animals. . . . And proper regard for the health of the community will eventually demand scientific protection against dangers of this kind. . . . Our State is too thoroughly committed to the encouragement of agriculture to abandon it. State energy and public money, however, should not be frittered away by misappropriation and misdirection: The time is ripe for the adoption of some comprehensive, systematic and intelligent policy which shall assure the best results at the least expenditure." Acting in accordance with these suggestions the Legislature appropriated fifty thousand dollars for a building and its equipment for dairy husbandry. This fine and skillfully designed edifice of Ohio sandstone was erected in 1893 upon the east side of the north quadrangle of the university. It contains lecture rooms, a reading room, laboratory for general agricultural analysis, and a smaller laboratory for special investigations, and the office of the professor of dairy husbandry; also rooms for the manufacture of butter and cheese and also storage rooms, together with a steam engine for furnishing the requisite power to be employed.
The university has recognized fully its duty to the State. It received 990,00 acres of land, the value of which did not exceed sixty cents per acre, or a total endowment of $594,000.The annual proceeds of this sum at five per cent. interest would amount to $29,700; yet the average expenditure by Cornell University during the last ten years for purposes of agricultural instruction alone has much exceeded this amount. The expenditures in the five departments of agriculture, horticulture, botany, entomology, and veterinary science have averaged $36,762 per year for a decade. This does not include instruction in chemistry, which is a part of the Agricultural College, nor any of the expenditures for the great Department of Mechanic Arts, which, with agriculture is a twin child of the Land Grant. Professor BAILEY has outlined the future form of agricultural education. He says that the university must be taken to the people. "For the teaching of agriculture, then, we must make a new species of curriculum and some of the instruction must be given away from the university, where special needs or special equipments exist. This instruction for best results should be given partly in class room work, partly in actual laboratory practice upon a sufficient scale to demonstrate the value of the methods as farm operations, and partly upon farms and gardens in various parts of the State. Instruction by the teachers and instructors in charge must be liberally supplemented by lectures upon special topics from men who have made signal success in those directions." After citing the several proposed courses as they exist in this university, he says: "In addition to all this there should be definite instruction by means of correspondence and extension lectures, and any mature student, who desires special instruction in a particular topic, should be allowed to come and go at any time." Acting upon views like these, which expressed the judgment of the College of Agriculture, a special course of instruction extending through the winter term was introduced. Lectures presenting a rapid survey of agricultural processes with a discussion of the best materials for the farmer's profession were given. This course attracted wide attention. Young men came from the farms, practical farmers came even from without the State to listen to the most advanced scientific discussion of the raising of grain, the preparation of the soil; the subject of dairy farming; breeding; and the various questions connected with farm economy. During the first winter of 1893, in which this special course in agriculture was given, it was attended by forty-eight students. In the winter of 1893, the attendance reached sixty-five, thus vindicating at once the success of the plan, which became the means of diffusing the freshest intelligence in agricultural communities throughout the State. Attention has been called also to the importance of new departments of study such as forestry, floriculture, including in its practice twenty thousand people with an annual value of over twenty-six million of dollars, etc.
The Department of Horticulture was reorganized upon its present basis in 1888, upon the establishment of the National Experiment Station. At that time Professor L. H. BAILEY, who held the chair of horticulture and landscape gardening in the Michigan Agricultural College, was selected to inaugurate the new department. This Horticultural department is dual in its character, its energies being divided systematically between experiment and teaching. The title of the chair in the university is General and Experimental Horticulture, and it was probably the first full professorship devoted solely to horticulture in any American university, and probably the first in any academic institution in the country. Ordinarily, landscape gardening, botany or entomology are associated with the subject. Practically, however, the chair now includes landscape gardening, which is taught to students in architecture and agriculture.
The horticultural department is organized upon an entirely different basis from any like department in the country. In teaching, its object is to place horticulture upon much the same basis as those sciences which are generally recognized as elements in a liberal education, rather than to make it a purely technical course or an academic apprenticeship to a profession. In experimentation, the object is also rather to monograph certain subjects than to attempt any general tests of varieties of plants, or to raise a general and miscellaneous collection. Cultivated plants, because of their immense variations and great numbers of species, afford one of the readiest means of studying and understanding the fundamental problems of the evolution of the organic world; and this phase of the subject, which elsewhere in America is practically untouched, is here extended into a special course of study. Facilities, are, of course, fully given for the acquirement of the immediately practical arts of horticulture; and greenhouses, gardens and orchards are maintained for this purpose. The forcing-houses comprise about 9,000 square feet of glass, and the grounds about twenty acres, of various soils and exposures.
Although the department of horticulture was formally established in 1888, instruction did not begin until the opening of 1889, owing to the absence of Professor BAILEY in Europe. There was then no horticultural equipment of any kind at the university, not even a growing orchard. Results up to this time, therefore, have not been great. There has been an earnest body of students from the first, however, largely due to the fact that all the horticultural courses are elective. Amongst the students from the department who have already assumed prominent responsibilities, are the following: W. M. MUNSON, professor of horticulture in the Agricultural College of Maine; C. W. MATHEWS, professor of horticulture and botany in the University of Kentucky; F. W. RANE, professor of horticulture and agriculture in the University of West Virginia;. L. C. CORBETT, professor of horticulture and forestry in the Agricultural College of South Dakota; F. W. CARD, professor of horticulture in the University of Nebraska; H. L. HUTT, professor of horticulture in the Agricultural College of Ontario; F. H. BURNETTE, horticulturist to the Experiment Station, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; W. E. BRITTON, assistant in the Experiment Station, New Haven, Connecticut; and E. G. LODEMAN, instructor in horticulture and assistant-horticulturist to the Experiment Station, Cornell University.
Twenty-six separate bulletins have been issued from the Experiment Station by the horticultural department, beside thirty-nine articles in general bulletins. The most important of these bulletins are monographs on certain groups of plants, as the native plums and cherries, Japanese plums, dewberries, mulberries, egg-plants, etc. The experiments upon the influence of the electric light upon vegetation, which have been farther extended here than elsewhere in the world, have also been prominent contributions.
The Veterinary Department of Cornell University was organized in 1868 as a division of agricultural education, which was imperatively prescribed in the Land Grant Act. This early recognition of veterinary science was doubtless largely due to the personal interest taken in the subject by the founder, who appreciated the culture of the soil as the foundation of all solid national prosperity, and the multiplication and improvement of farm animals as the basis of a permanent fertility of the land. He had already shown his faith by his works by gathering at his farm a valuable herd of imported short-horn cattle, a flock of Southdown sheep and an Arabian stallion-a representative of that race from which all that is excellent in the equine family has been derived.
For the first year the work of the veterinary professor was confined to the delivery of a course of lectures on anatomy, physiology and hygiene, dietetics, breeding, veterinary medicine and surgery. Attention was also given to such clinical instruction as was afforded by the presentation of animals for treatment. President WHITE, however, early expressed his intention of securing a fully equipped veterinary college, and in the second academic year (1869-70), at the urgent re quest of several students, special classes in veterinary anatomy, physiology and hygiene were begun, supplemented later by others in the science of pathology, the practice of medicine and surgery and the various cognate subjects that go to make up a professional education.
Of the students that pursued these special courses, a number entered veterinary schools elsewhere, where they could secure a degree at an earlier date; others entered medical schools and some devoted themselves to other departments of science. Representatives of these special classes are found to-day teaching in veterinary, medical and other colleges. Four only secured the Cornell degree in veterinary medicine, and of these, three are now employed in the Bureau of Animal Industry at Washington; one, for a period of ten years, as chief, and the other two as valued co-workers in the field of veterinary sanitary science. The work of these students, as published in the yearly reports of the bureau, reflect the highest credit on their alma mater, and on their own scientific devotion and acumen. Dr. SALMON, chief of the bureau, has served four years as alumni trustee in Cornell University.
As time passed without any material addition to the equipment, it became only too plain that to maintain the semblance of a veterinary school with existing means, and to grant degrees, was unfair to all concerned, institution, teacher and students, and in the absence of any immediate prospect of an adequate equipment, it was judged better to refuse all students who came with the object of obtaining a veterinary degree. For a number of years, therefore, the veterinary department has been remanded to the position which it occupied in the first year of the university, as a simple chair in the College of Agriculture.
In connection with the failure of the department to develop into a veterinary college, it should be stated that the executive committee twice appropriated the sum of $10,000 to construct a veterinary building, but as no suitable site could be agreed upon, the appropriation lapsed, and veterinary instruction is still given in connection with a small room for a museum and the use of a lecture room devoted, in the main, to another science.
But if we have failed in the first twenty-five years of the institution to furnish a veterinary college, the chair has not been without influence upon the State and Nation apart from the instruction furnished to students. Since 1869 the veterinary professor has been consulting veterinarian to the New York State Agricultural Society, and, besides attendance at the State fairs and examination of animals on exhibition, he has contributed at intervals to the Transactions of the Society, some of which contributions have been translated and republished in Europe. In 1878 he was appointed by Governor ROBINSON as veterinary counsel in dealing with the lung plague of cattle in the State of New York. In 1881 he was appointed chairman of the United States Treasury Cattle Commission, and prepared three yearly reports on the restriction and suppression of epizootics, together with a number of lesser reports on particular outbreaks of contagious and other animal diseases. As a member of this commission he superintended the location, erection and starting of the cattle quarantine stations at the ports of Portland, Boston, New York and Baltimore, which have been conducted by the Department of Agriculture since the formation of the Bureau of Animal Industry in 1884. In 1883 he represented the United States Department of Agriculture at the International Veterinary Congress at Brussels, Belgium, and embodied in a paper the deliberations and resolutions of that body for the report of the Department of Agriculture of that year. To this was appended a report on the veterinary colleges of Europe. In 1885 he was appointed by the governor as State veterinarian and served in that capacity until called in 1887 by the United States Department of Agriculture to direct the work for the extinction of the lung plague in cattle in Illinois. Having accomplished this object, and having been granted a year's leave of absence by the university, he went successively to Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York to assist in the organization of the work for the extinction of this plague in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. In this latter State, he remained in charge of the work, in the double capacity of agent of the governor and veterinary superintendent for the United States Department of Agriculture, until the fall of 1888, when he resigned to resume his university duties. The sanitary work was, however, continued on the same lines, and in three years the continent was rid of the lung plague in cattle, which it had harbored for forty years, at a loss in its exports alone of $2,000,000 per annum.
Beside these official services the incumbent of the veterinary chair has contributed largely to educate the public on veterinary medicine and surgery, and veterinary sanitary matters. His Farmer's Veterinary Adviser, which has been used as a text book in many agricultural colleges, has reached its 10th edition and has been republished in Canada and England. For years he was a constant contributor to the New York Tribune, The Live Stock Journal, The Breeders' Gazette, and others papers, and a number of his public lectures have been published in the transactions of different societies. As contributions to standard works may be named: Articles on Anthrax and Glanders in Ziemssen's "Cyclopedia of Medicine;" on Veterinary Science in the American edition of the "Encyclopedia Britannica;" on Rabies, Anthrax and Glanders in Pepper's "System of Medicine by American Authors;" on Horse Training in Appleton's "Cyclopedia;" and on Rabies, Anthrax, Actiniomycosis and Glanders in the "American System of Medicine".
This work has not been without its influence in preparing the public mind for the appreciation and fostering of veterinary science and especially of veterinary sanitary science. The extinction of one animal plague has demonstrated the possibility and economy of stamping out other animal plagues dependent like that on a pure parasitic infection. The work of Pasteur and his followers in producing germs of diminished potency, capable of producing non-fatal forms of a given plague, giving immunity from the more destructive forms, has shown how science may abolish the mortality of diseases which still continue to exist. The still more important fact, to which the Cornell veterinary professor has contributed by his experiments with swine plague, anthrax, and rabies, that the sterilized chemical poisons, produced by the microbes of a self-limiting disease, can be used on the susceptible animal to produce immunity from that disease, opens a way to do away with? the mortality of a disease, though the germs still exist in the locality. The use of antitoxins, produced in the system of an immunized animal, of protective serums, and of protective extracts of different organs to cure an infected subject or immunize a susceptible one, though less familiar to the general public, is becoming so with the advanced members of the medical fraternity, and through them tends to reach the people at large. The use of the chemical products of the germs as a means of diagnosis of occult forms of disease (tuberculosis, glanders) opens a way for the discovery and extinction of cases of disease which would heretofore have escaped the most skillful inspection. The source of tuberculosis in our herds may be completely removed, by the aid of such means of diagnosis, and the production of a safe and efficient product for such diagnosis is the duty of a veterinary institution. So, too, with the production of other sterilized disease poisons, of protective and curative antitoxins, serums, and animal extracts. Further, the investigation of the composition of such disease-poisons and of their appropriate antidotes is the natural work of such institutions. The more this field is studied, the wider its possibilities appear, and to those who already know something of the subject, the demand for investigation becomes more and more imperative. At the present moment the all but universal interest in the tuberculosis of cattle and its conveyance to man through meat and milk, creates a demand for veterinary supervision of our herds, and of veterinarians sufficiently well educated in bacteriology, epidemiology and sanitation to be entrusted with the extinction of the disease in animals. Hence the latest movement in reference to our veterinary department has been the appropriation by the Legislature of fifty thousand dollars as the first instalment toward the building and equipment of a Veterinary College in connection with Cornell University. If this is followed up in a manner becoming to the great State of New York, we may hope for a center of education and investigation which will furnish this and other States with accomplished men, equipped not only to deal with animal plagues, but with every other disease and injury of domestic animals, and with the whole subject of their improvement and hygiene. To do justice to the subject will demand a liberal outlay, first for veterinary education and second for veterinary sanitary work throughout the State, and the aroused public sentiment may be trusted to carry this out. What was impossible twenty-five years ago, though no less necessary and no less imperative in the estimation of those of us who know the field, has become not only possible but a public demand, which must be supplied at no distant date..The province of this work is admirably expressed in a review of Professor LAW' s bulletin on tuberculosis: "Two enormous tasks are naturally presented to the State and to economists for solution. One is that of exterminating all tuberculosis by means of test examinations of the animals; the other is the thorough inspection at the abattoirs of every animal slaughtered for food, and the rejection of all animals that are in the slightest degree infected.
"The difficulty and expense attending such work will be at first very great, but it seems to us that the course to be pursued is a plain one. Tuberculosis kills one-twelfth of the population and maims many more. The most potent and serious source of danger is in the animals that supply us with milk and meat. We do not hesitate to spend millions on a navy and army that are to be used only against possible future enemies. Why should we hesitate to spend still more on an enemy which is real and which is constantly assailing us?"
These are truly "enormous tasks," but, they are only the beginning of the work that looms up before the veterinary college of the future. The State that will furnish a college equal to the demands of the present day and of the new era now dawning, will deserve well of the nation and of humanity. Colleges that have been conducted as private corporations, have in some cases striven nobly and have accomplished much, but their day is past and the eve of the twentieth century demands an institution in keeping with the rapidly growing knowledge of the day, and with the uses to which such knowledge must now be applied.
History of Cornell - Chapter XVII
Carl Hommel donated this material and transcribed into digital format.
Thank you Carl Hommel.
You are our
visitor since June 24, 2002.
Thanks for stopping by!
Thursday, 04-Jul-2019 13:18:57 PDT
Copyright by Janet M. Nash and Johnna Armstrong
for the contributors of the material on these pages.
All Rights Reserved.